Dear valued follower and members of our Tasting Panel,
Christmas is approaching, and it's been almost a year since we invited you to be part of our tasting panel and assist us on the journey towards "a new beginning" — the time when we can bottle whisky from the larger vintages in the warehouse after 2019, when we inaugurated our 1,000-liter pot still here at Gyrup.
You have really taken your task seriously, and we are grateful for all the input we have received from you — both in connection with the 'official' parts of the tasting panel, at festivals or during a cask owners days. It proves to us that it was the right decision to open up about the direction of our distillery, and to seek your advice.
After the spring tastings, two messages were very clear. Firstly, you asked us to continue experimenting with smoke, malt processes, grain types, casks, etc., to create exciting whisky not found elsewhere. Secondly, you requested a single malt bottle that is the essence of Thy, and that is readily available. A bottle that can always be offered to guests and whisky drinkers who are not familiar with us.
This last message has been our main focus for the past six months. The vintages we are looking into taste fantastic, and we believe they show potential far beyond what we have bottled so far. Our cask inventory contains many variations and experiments, but also larger series that enable us to work towards one or more fixed releases.
On the way to a Thy bottle on the shelf
In the fall, we presented our taste panel with the task: "How does a 'Thy' taste?" 150 of you in Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Sweden tasted four different proposals for whisky, blended from the casks in our warehouse.
They were blended so that we could bottle the whisky every year and were based on your messages about what characterizes Thy Whisky the most for you: Sherry casks, beechwood smoke, grain richness, and malt sweetness.
The four samples were composed so that your evaluation could help us the most in our work. They were not finished whiskies, and the cask would benefit from maturing a bit longer, before we start bottling.
Nevertheless, we can announce a winner: Sample 4, the most beechwood-smoked whisky exclusively bottled from sherry casks, received the most points in the evaluation. Half of you chose it as your favorite. In general, the comments highlighted that the beechwood smoke is unique to Thy, it smells and tastes good, and it pairs well with sherry cask maturation. It's a combination that we have received multiple awards for in the international market, so the choice does not nessesarily surprise us, but we are still very pleased that your praise for the smoke and sherry casks was so great.
What is just as interesting is that a large part chose one of the two first samples — without or with very minute smoke — as one of their favorites. Several emphasized that the characteristic grain and malt flavor in our whisky comes out best with a balanced cask intensity and a very light smoke that simply intensifies the flavor without taking over. In general, you emphasized smoothness, intensity, complexity, and richness, whether with smoke or not.
And a large majority actually chose a combination of the most smoked and one of the least smoked whiskies as their 'favorite pair.'
Thus, two winners, two paths, two combinations of sherry and smoke are emerging. Each with its own justification.
So… We can conclude that a distinctly beechwood-smoked whisky will become a regular part of our repertoire here in Thy. And at the same time, we need to continue working on a 'non-smoked' sherry cask bottling, where we may incorporate a very subtle beechwood smoke to add roundness and fullness. We are up for that challenge!
From the Tasting Panel to Reality
We would very much like to share the experiences with a broader audience. For this year's online Christmas tasting, which we — now for the third year in a row — are hosting on December 29th, we have included a new version of the non-smoked variant of a Thy - based on your comments.
It has had a little more time in the casks and is composed somewhere between sample no. 1 and no. 2. With a bit more sherry sweetness, room for the malt character, and with a very mild beechwood smoke that simply contributes to mouthfullness. In your honor, we have named it "The Tasting Panel." It has found its place alongside six other whiskies that we believe represent the future of Thy Whisky.
You are, of course, very welcome to taste with us at it kicks off on December 29th at 8:00 PM, even though the tasting is in Danish. You can find the tasting sets for the online tasting here
You will hear from us again in the new year, where there will likely be a last chance to sign up for a tasting opportunity in the tasting panel.